My thoughts for 2008
In my opinion, the Cubs need to address the following needs for the 2008 season.
- A Right Fielder (preferably a lefty who is a legit #5 hitter)
- A #2 or #3 starter (another #4 wouldn't be so bad)
- A Short Stop
- A Center Fielder
If I could make a few realistic signings, I think my opening day roster would be:
- Soriano LF (R)
- E. Patterson CF (L)
- Lee 1B (R)
- Ramirez 3B (R)
- Fukudome RF (L)
- Soto C (R)
- DeRosa 2B (R)
- Cedeño SS (R)
- Zambrano P (L)
OF Jones (L)
OF Murton (R)
IF Theriot (R)
IF/OF Ward (L)
C Blanco (R)
Then Kuroda. I'm skeptical about both potential Japanese talents, as you never quite know how things are going to transfer. But even if Kuroda turns into a decent #4, that's still a pretty respectable rotation, and I feel much more comfortable with Marquis as the 5th guy than the 3rd guy. Plus, I want to see if Marshall can be good in the pen, because he'd be a great long man / loogy. And he's always around as an insurance policy SP. I'm just not wild about 3 SPs who are southpaws, especially when their stuff is at least comparable.
Then there's CF. Most people are expecting EPat to be traded, I wouldn't be surprised. But among our in house CF options (Jones, Pie, EPat) I think that Patterson fills the lineup needs the most by far. They are all lefties, but I think the Cubs need one of them to be the #2 hitter, and Pie and Jones pale in comparison as a top of the order hitter next to Patterson. His ceiling may be lower than Pie, but Patterson appears to have just about reached it. I'd gladly take a .280 AVG with 10 HR and some SBs out of the 2 slot. He's a better base-stealer with a higher OBP than Jones, and he certainly seems more equipped than Pie to hit MLB pitching.
I also am not a huge fan of Jones as an everyday player. But as a 4th OF, I think he could be one of the best there is.
But wait... isn't Theriot the #2 hitter? I don't think Theriot is a starting SS. He's a good player, and I like him as much as anyone, but a guy with a .266 AVG, a mediocre OBP, no power, and OK defense isn't a starter unless you don't really have a better option. He's a GREAT backup SS/2B, but he's no starter. I think that Cedeño MAY have turned a corner, and he's earned one LAST shot at trying to be a MLB SS. Cedeño has a legit upside, whereas I think Theriot has a ceiling of .275 AVG, .350 OBP and 35 SBs accompanied by OK defense, which is again fine, but he'll be 28 when the season starts, he's not gonna develop other parts of his game now.
People have thoughts on this lineup, and Patterson and Cedeño in particular? I think I'm on the 'don't sign ARod bandwagon'. I don't think he can play a great SS anymore, and it seems like the clubhouse has a pretty good chemistry to it, I'd hate to disrupt it with a monster guy like ARod.
Again, I made my Patterson decision largely because I feel that good teams have lineup balance, and we've been far too right handed for a while now. We need a good top of the order lefty in CF. On that thought, I wouldn't be opposed to a one year stop-gap of Kenny Lofton playing CF and hitting 2nd, he'd be fine with me as well.